Greetings everyone, I hope this message finds you all in good health and happiness as we make our way into the winter season. Here at the Chamiza Foundation, I have been busy doing project site visits and participating in various Pueblo based conferences, symposiums and summits. All I can say is that we as Pueblo people have a variety of entities, programs and schools that are aggressively working towards the preservation and protection of our languages, culture, and Indigenous knowledge.

On November 7th and 8th, I attended the Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC) Native Language Symposium. The goal of the symposium was to build awareness, inspire connection and belonging in the work of Indigenous Education, and create opportunities to collectively work toward Indigenous language revitalization through education using an immersion, dual-language, and Montessori model rooted in community knowledge and values. The symposium had a variety of speakers and teachers that spoke to attendees about their success in using Montessori methods and how Indigenous communities can reclaim the education of their children. It was a very powerful and inspiring event to say that least. The keynote speaker on the first day of the symposium was Dr. Joseph Suina of Pueblo de Cochiti. His words were quite compelling as he explained the difference between “Hanah Teaching and Learning” and “Mericana Schooling”. His words were so profound. The symposium also had participants from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in attendance, one the members said something that stayed with me, it was “Children who speak indigenous languages are living victories of our people”. This statement is so inspiring. I am grateful for the time spent at the symposium and look forward to seeing KCLC continue to thrive and grow.

On November 20th, I had the opportunity to attend the 1st Annual Pueblo Data Sovereignty Conference. The conference was hosted by the All Pueblo Council of Governors. The purpose of the conference was to bring to light the importance of protecting all the different types of data that comes from our Pueblo communities. The conference was instrumental in educating attendees on what “Indigenous Data Sovereignty” actually is and what it means for our communities.  Indigenous Data Sovereignty the right of Indigenous peoples and nations to govern the collection, ownership, and application of their own data. Indigenous data is data, information and knowledge, in any format, that impacts indigenous lives at the collective and individuals levels. Presenters spoke about the importance of our Pueblo communities developing their own data governance principles, protocols and procedures. Furthermore, they spoke about the rights and control that Pueblo people should have over the data that comes from their community.  Overall any data collected from our Pueblo communities should benefit the community as a whole and should be done only after permission has been granted from the Pueblo.  Dr. Michele Suina of Pueblo de Cochiti was one of the speakers for this conference and she did a phenomenal job of explaining why data sovereignty is so important to us. One of the quotes that resonated with me from this conference was, “Our ancestor’s hid knowledge from the outside to protect it for us”.

All in all, I would have to say that November was a month of learning for me. As I go from community to community and from event to event, I learn something new at each place. I thoroughly enjoy the connections I make and all the opportunities I get to speak about the projects and programs that the Chamiza Foundation supports. If you see me at an event please make sure to come say hello to me! Also just a reminder, if you have a project or program idea that you would like to submit an application for and it is related to our foundation priority areas, please contact me and we can talk about developing your idea. Wishing everyone a blessed rest of the month.

Warm regards,

Amanda J. Montoya


Below you will find updates and information from our various Pueblo projects and programs that have received funding from the Chamiza Foundation.



In 2006, five Santa Fe Indian School students approached the Santo Domingo Pueblo’s Council with an urgent concern and plea. As boarding school students, they saw themselves and their peers losing their language and becoming disconnected from the community. As a result, the Santo Domingo Pueblo Council implemented a resolution for instruction of the Kewa Keres Language at the Santo Domingo Public School and soon after, the Santa Fe Indian School. The Pueblo’s Council also established the Santo Domingo Kewa Keres Language Team (governing board) and Program (KKLTIP) to provide support and guidance for their children ‘ s teaching and learning. Since KKL instruction has been offered in the schools, newer issues have surfaced. Santo Domingo children have begun to express that they often do not have anyone at home to help them with language homework or to put in to practice, lessons they may have learned at school. Therefore, the KKLTIP, proposed to introduce an afterschool program geared toward providing speakers (as mentors) who can extend language opportunities for the community’s children. This would be accomplished through a variety of traditional activities to include arts and traditional crafting, engaging with tribal elders through storytelling, and conversation that would include parents and family members. The focus would be to engage in as much natural, conversational dialogue to help support and supplement what is learned at school and/or home.

The Santo Domingo Kewa Keres Language Program submitted an application for support to the Chamiza Foundation in the fall of 2018. The Chamiza Foundation board decided to fund this program. Since the inception of this project there have been 25 students (ages 9-16) and 10 parents/guardians that have engaged in this program. It was reported that the community’s students and their families absolutely receive unmeasurable benefit from their participation. This is wonderful news to us here at the Chamiza Foundation.




In the Spring of 2019 Ysleta del Sur Pueblo submitted a request for funds from the Chamiza Foundation to implement a one-year pottery making project that engages tribal members who may not have the skills to create their own Tigua pottery nor have had the opportunity to learn how to make Tigua pottery. The impetus for this request stems from the Pueblo’s current plight on sustaining a rich and vibrant culture amidst the ever-encroaching urban areas that surround its tribal land and outside influences coming from both American and Mexican popular culture. The Pueblo’s overarching goal for the project is to foster a greater sense of cultural pride among its citizens. The project consists of targeting 20-30 Tigua citizens to participate and complete a course in Tigua Pottery Making. The Tigua Pottery course began in October of 2019 and started with an orientation and class instruction. The class instruction included making pinch pots, slab building, coil pottery and designs. During this course the participants will also harvest, clean and prepare traditional clay. The final stages of classroom instruction will be the firing in the kiln and traditional pit firing. The Chamiza Foundation is absolutely thrilled to be supporting this initiative.

Ysleta del Sur Pueblo-Tigua Pottery Class Participants




The Santa Clara Pueblo Adult Day Care Center sent a request to the Chamiza Foundation in the spring of 2019 to ask for funding to assist in continuing to nurture and expand the existing intergenerational exchange program. Funding would be used to continue developing more opportunities to engage youth and elders in cultural activities such as preparing traditional food, establishing a cookbook in the Tewa language, and sewing traditional clothing. Currently the Adult Day Care Center has a collaborative relationship with the Santa Clara Day School on this initiative. The programs long term benefit is to increase the cultural and traditional knowledge between generations. One of the benefits of this program is the ability to enhance the community engagement between the youth, elderly and adults. One of the goals of this program is to inspire others to visit the elderly at the center. So far, the female students have worked on aprons and back scarfs and boys have been doing leather work.  Once these projects are completed they will begin working on a cooking booklet and demonstration cooking classes.

Santa Clara Day School Students-6th Grade Class program participants



Funding Opportunity:

First Nations Development Institute: GATHER Food Sovereignty Grant

First Nations recognizes that Native food systems are important assets to Native communities. As a result, First Nations has long supported Native communities as they fortify traditional food systems, seek to increase access healthy and fresh foods, increase awareness of and involvement with where food comes from, and expand knowledge of the linkages between foods, Native cultures and/or contribute to tribal economic growth and development of entrepreneurial-related food ventures.

With the generous support of the Indigenous Peoples Fund at Tide Foundation, First Nations will establish a Gather Food Sovereignty Grant that will support work contributing to building a national movement that will fulfill a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced and supported by community policies and systems. This opportunity is targeting emerging projects that focus on developing Tribal Food Sovereignty.  Through the first round of the Gather Food Sovereignty Grant, First Nations expects to award up to 8 grant awards of approximately $32,000 to support Native American-led food sovereignty work. The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence April 1, 2020 and end March 31, 2021.Total requests for project budgets within this funding opportunity should not exceed $32,000.

Deadline to apply: February 27, 2020